K-State returns home to face Colorado Saturday

Game 25

Colorado (6-13, 2-7 Big 12)
at Kansas State (17-7, 6-3 Big 12)

Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007

Bramlage Coliseum (13,340) in Manhattan, Kan.


Game Information:

Tipoff: 5:05 p.m. Central

Series: Kansas State leads 89-43
(K-State leads 50-10 in Manhattan, Kan.)

TV: ESPN Plus 

Talent: Bill Doleman (Play-by-Play)
and Stacey King (Analyst)

Channels: Metro (Kansas City), KSAS, Eagle (Wichita), KSNT (Topeka)  

Radio: K-State Sports Network (31 affiliates),
Yahoo! Radio

Talent: Wyatt Thompson (Play-by-Play) and Stan Weber (Analyst)


K-State looks to get back on track with home game against Colorado

Kansas State (17-7, 6-3 Big 12) looks to get back on the winning track on Saturday, as the Wildcats return home from a brutal stretch of back-to-back road games against ranked foes by welcoming Colorado (6-13, 2-7 Big 12) to Bramlage Coliseum for a 5:05 p.m. affair.  The contest will be a special one for the Wildcat faithful, as the university will retire the jerseys of greats Rolando Blackman (1977-81) and Dick Knostman (1951-53) in a special ceremony at halftime.  The two men will be become the seventh and eighth Wildcats to have their jersey retired at Kansas State, joining the likes of Bob Boozer (1957-59), Ernie Barrett (1949-51), Mike Evans (1975-78), Lon Kruger (1972-74), Jack Parr (1956-58) and Chuckie Williams (1973-76).  

The game will be televised regionally on ESPN Plus (Metro - Kansas City; KSAS - Wichita; KSNT - Topeka) with Bill Doleman (play-by-play) and Stacey King (color) calling the action.  It will be the sixth of 12 regional broadcasts on the Big 12’s television package for the Wildcats.  The audio broadcast can also be heard on the 31-station K-State Sports Network (http://sports.yahoo.com/ncaab/teams/kab) with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play) and Stan Weber (color) on the call. 

The game will also mark the the annual “Coaches vs. Cancer Suits & Sneakers” event sponsored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), in which, coaches from schools across the country will wear sneakers to show support for the Coaches vs. Cancer program.

Noting the Kansas Game

*With the loss, Kansas State fell to 89-171 against Kansas all-time, including 35-78 in games played in Lawrence, Kan. ... The Wildcats have still not won back-to-back games in Lawrence since earning a 72-61 win on Jan. 30, 1988 and a 71-70 win on Jan. 28, 1989... Coaching legend Cotton Fitzsimmons remains the last first-year head coach in K-State history to win his first game against the Jayhawks in Allen Fieldhouse in 1969. 

*The 17-7 record represents the best start by the Wildcats since head coach Lon Kruger’s 1987-88 Elite Eight squad also produced a 17-7 mark after 24 games... The win total also ties for the most by a Kansas State squad (the 2003-04 team also produced 17) since the team posted a 20-13 record in 1998-99... The six league victories tie for the second-most (6-10 done four times) by K-State in the Big 12 era... The last time the Wildcats had more than six wins in a league season was 1998-99 when the squad won seven (7-9)... The 6-3 mark in conference play is the best ever through nine games since joining the Big 12 and best league start since the 1987-88 squad posted a 7-2 mark in Big Eight play after a win over Colorado on Feb. 16.

*With the loss, Kansas State saw its seven-game winning streak and Big 12-era best six-game streak in league games end... It was not only the longest streak in the Big 12, but also the 10th-longest streak in the nation, tying Albany, Marquette and Ohio State.

*After holding teams to an average of 61.0 points on 38.6 percent shooting during its seven-game winning streak, Kansas State saw Kansas torch them for an opponent-high 97 points on 55.8 percent shooting... It was the most points yielded by the Wildcats since allowing UMKC 93 on Dec. 30, 2003, while it was the highest shooting percentage by an opponent since Arizona shot 61.2 percent (41-of-67) in the Fiesta Bowl Classic on Dec. 30, 1997.

*Kansas State changed its starting line-up for the first time since the Missouri game on Jan. 13, as freshman Jason Bennett took the place of fellow rookie Luis Colon... The team stayed with the quartet of junior guard Clent Stewart, senior guard Lance Harris, senior guard Akeem Wright and junior forward David Hoskins... It was the 46th consecutive start for Hoskins... Martin and Harris have appeared 93 and 86 consecutive games, respectively.

*Senior Jermaine Maybank became the eighth different player to lead the team in scoring, as the transfer posted a career-high 26 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go with four rebounds and career-best three steals in a career-high 33 minutes... The 26-point total was nearly triple his previous high of nine points against North Dakota State on Dec. 9, 2006... He had 14 points in the first half and surpassed his season and career marks with a dunk at the 6:18 mark of the first half... Maybank’s career high coming into the season was five points against Hofstra on Nov. 29, 2005 while he was at St. John’s.

*Junior David Hoskins scored in double figures for the 17th consecutive game with 13 points against Kansas... He played just 23 minutes, his lowest total since playing 22 against New Mexico in the Findley Toyota Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Dec. 23, 2006... Senior Cartier Martin has scored in double figures in eight straight games dating back to the Missouri game on Jan. 13 with 11 against Kansas... He now has 65 career double-figure scoring games.

*With a missed free throw at the 12:16 mark of the second half, senior Cartier Martin broke a string of five straight games of shooting 100 percent from the line (a stretch of 29 consecutive free throws) and first miss since the Baylor on Jan. 17... He is now shooting 80.6 percent from the line this year.

RPI Update

In this week’s RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) ratings, the formula used by the NCAA to help determine which teams go to the post-season tournament, Kansas State ranks between Nos. 37-45.  A team’s RPI is sum of three values: the team’s winning percentage, its opponents’ average winning percentage (strength of schedule) and its opponents’ opponents’ average winning percentage.  This week, K-State’s best RPI ratings are from CollegeRPI.com (37) and RealTimeRPI.com (37), Mike Greenfield’s Team RPI (39) and CBS Sportsline’s RPI (41), while the team is rated 45th in the latest Sagarin rankings.

Demise of the Streak

It is easy to determine the reasons for the demise of Kansas State’s seven-game winning streak at the hands of Kansas on Wednesday.  The team saw both the production of its stars and stifling defense come crashing down in the 97-70 loss to the Jayhawks.  The team’s top three scorers - Cartier Martin (18.7 ppg), David Hoskins (16.7 ppg.) and Lance Harris (13.3 ppg.) - combined to score 341 of the Wildcats’ 510 points during the seven-game streak on 46.1 percent shooting (111-of-241).  However, the trio combined for just 26 points on Wednesday on a dismal 31.8 percent shooting (7-of-22), including just 16.7 percent (2-of-12) from 3-point range.  The group continued their excellence from the free throw line, connecting on 86.1 percent (99-of-115) of their attempts.  The team also saw its production on the defensve end falter in the loss, as the Wildcats allowed a season-high 97 points on 55.8 percent shooting.  It was the most points allowed by the Wildcats in over two seasons and the highest percentage from the field in 10 seasons.  Prior to the game, K-State had held its last seven foes to a combined 61.0 points per game on just 38.6 percent shooting, including 25.9 percent from 3-point range.

Win A Big One

Kansas State posted its most impressive win of the season and in the process ended a dubious streak on Feb. 3, as the Wildcats snapped Texas’ 22-game home winning streak and its 11-game home streak in Big 12 games with a 73-72 win at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.  It marked the first win over a ranked opponent on the road in more than 10 years (snapping a streak of 29 straight losses) since beating No. 23 Iowa State, 92-87, on Feb. 28, 1996.  The win was also the first in Austin in the Big 12 era and the first since a 51-43 non-conference win on Jan. 8, 1983, while it was the first over a ranked foe at any venue since the Wildcats upset the 10th-ranked Longhorns, 58-48, in Manhattan on March 6, 2004.  K-State was aided much by the 3-point shot against Texas, as the team converted on a season-best 14 treys on a season-high 51.9 percent shooting from beyond the arc.  It was the most 3-point field goals in a game in nearly seven years since the Wildcats tallied 15 against Nebraska on Jan. 8, 2000, while the percentage with highest since connecting on 75 percent (9-of-12) against Oregon State in 2002.  The team also posted a stellar assist-to-turnover ratio, as the six turnovers tied for the fewest this season (North Dakota State on Dec. 9), while the 19 assists were sixth-most and the most in conference play.

Role Reversal

One of the major obstacles for Kansas State during the past few seasons has been its ability to win close games.  Last season, the Wildcats ranked first in the nation with a school-record 10 losses by single-digits, including seven by three points or less.  However, head coach Bob Huggins has clearly made a difference in this department in his first season, as the team has posted a 6-2 mark in games decided by single-digits, including wins in three of five decided by one possession (four points or less).  Of note, all three of these wins - North Dakota State, Missouri and Texas  - have come on the road.

Super Sub

A staple of the starting line-up in previous seasons, senior Cartier Martin has been particularily effective off the bench this season.  He has scored in double figures in nine of the 11 games he has not started for the Wildcats, including four 20-point performances against UMES (23) on Dec. 19, Chicago State (25) on Jan. 22, Missouri (22) on Jan. 31 and Texas (27) on Feb. 3.  He is averaging 16.4 points on 47.2 percent shooting (59-of-125) in 11 games off the bench this season with 5.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 26.8 minutes per game.  Martin has been even better in that role in the last seven games, averaging 18.1 points on 52.6 percent shooting, including 45.2 percent from 3-point range, with 6.1 rebounds in 25.9 minutes. 

has gotten a nice lift from its bench this season with an average of 24.7 points coming from its reserves this season.  The impact has been even more telling in the last 18 contests, where the Wildcats have averaged 25.5 points off the bench and have outscored their opponent by a 484-290 margin.  The streak came on the heels of being outscored 67-47 off the bench in games against New Mexico, CoppinState and California.  The most telling aspect of the recent bench play has been its diversity.  The team has gotten significant scoring from 10 different players off the bench.

The Book on Colorado (6-13, 2-7 Big 12)

Colorado enters Saturday’s contest with a 6-13 overall record and 2-7 mark in Big 12 Conference play after earning an impressive 89-77 win over No. 14/12 Oklahoma State last Saturday at home.  The win snapped a four-game losing streak in league play and marked the fifth straight season that the team defeated a ranked opponent at home.  The Buffaloes shot 48.1 percent from the field, including 53.6 percent in the first half, and had three players top 20 points led by freshman guard Kalvin Bay’s and senior forward Dominique Coleman’s 21-point efforts.  Coleman also added a game-high 15 rebounds.  Junior guard Richard Roby, the team’s leading scorer, chipped in 20 points on 5-of-10 shooting with nine rebounds.    


Colorado is averaging 70.4 points on 41.3 percent shooting with 37.3 rebounds and 13.5 assists on the season.  The youthful Buffaloes with just two seniors on their squad have six players averaging seven ore more points, including three in double figures.  One of the top players in the Big 12, Roby paces the team in scoring at 17.6 points per game to go with 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists on a team-best 31.8 minutes per game.  Freshman guard Xavier Silas averages 11.6 points on 39.2 percent shooting to go with a team-high 30 3-point field goals, while senior forward Dominique Coleman adds 10.8 points on 48.1 percent shooting to go with a team-high 6.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game.  Guard Jeremy Williams is another freshman playing big minutes, as he averages 7.9 points and 4.9 rebounds, while rookie point guard Kal Bay averages 7.1 points and 2.1 assists per game.

is led by veteran coach Ricardo Patton, who has posted a 183-153 mark in his 11th season at the helm.  Patton, who became interim coach in 1995-96, announced on Oct. 25 that this would be his last season of coaching at Colorado. He is 15-8 all-time against KansasState, including a slim 6-5 edge in games played in Manhattan, Kan.  This will be the first meeting between Patton and Bob Huggins in their respective careers.

Series Versus Colorado

This will be the 133rd all-time meeting between Kansas State and Colorado in a series that dates back to 1933.  The Wildcats hold an 89-43 advantage in the all-time series, including a 50-10 mark in games played at home.  However, the Buffaloes post a 14-8 lead in the series since the inception of the Big 12, including a 5-5 tie in games played in ManhattanColorado has won six of the last nine games played between the two squads, including three of the last six games played at Bramlage Coliseum. 

Last season, the Wildcats snapped a two-game losing streak and earned their first win in Manhattan over the Buffaloes with a 72-60 victory on Feb. 18, 2006.  Forward Cartier Martin scored 21 points - all but three in the second half - and had 10 rebounds, helping K-State come back to defeat Colorado.  The team shot 45 percent from the field, including 50 percent in the second half, and held a 38-35 edge on the boards.  Akeem Wright added 17 points and Dramane Diarra had 13, both career-highs at the time.  The Wildcats blew an early nine point lead and trailed by 11 points early in the second half before surging ahead and putting the game away with a late 16-0 run.  K-State had its own offensive struggles, going more than eight minutes without a field goal in the late first half and early second before Wright scored nine straight points in a 13-2 run that put the Wildcats up 46-43 with under 9 1/2 minutes.  Colorado was led by Marcus Hall’s 15 points and Richard Roby’s 14 points.                 


K-State to retire the jerseys of Blackman, Knostman

Kansas State Director of Athletics Tim Weiser announced on Dec. 27 that the Wildcats will retire the jerseys of basketball greats Rolando Blackman and Dick Knostman in a halftime ceremony during the Colorado game on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007.  The duo becomes the third class of jersey retirements at K-State following those of Bob Boozer, Ernie Barrett and Jack Parr in 2005 and Mike Evans, Lon Kruger and Chuckie Williams in 2006. 

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Blackman is one of just two players to earn first team All-America honors in consecutive seasons in Kansas State history and one of just three (joining fellow retirees Mike Evans and Lon Kruger) to be named Big Eight Conference Player of the Year (1980).  He is also just one of three players to earn first team all-conference honors three times (joining Bob Boozer and Mike Evans) in the program’s history.  The school’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,844 points, Blackman was the last Wildcat to be selected as a first team All-American when he was named to the Helms Foundation, The Sporting News, Converse Yearbook and John R. Wooden Award All-American squads as a senior in 1981.   

The 6-foot-6 native of Wamego, Kan., Knostman is one of just 12 players in Kansas State history to be named a first team All-American.  He earned this recognition from the Helms Foundation, Look magazine and the Newspaper Enterprises Association as a senior in 1953 after averaging 22.7 points in helping the Wildcats to a 17-4 record and a final ranking of No. 12 in the AP poll.  One of the few Wildcats to average a double-double for his career with 14.6 points and 10.5 rebounds, Knostman still ranks among the top 5 in 17 single-game, season and/or career statistical categories in school history.

Hoskins Emerges As A Leader

One of the biggest reasons for Kansas State’s improved play of late has been due to the emergence of junior David Hoskins.  He has averaged a team-leading 16.2 points in the last 17 games on 47.7 percent shooting with 6.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game.  In that span, Hoskins not only paces the squad in scoring, but also first in field goal percentage, rebounds and steals and is second in assists.  His torrid play of late has enabled him to rank among the Big 12’s top 15 in four categories, including 10th in free throw percentage (77.6), 13th in scoring (14.6 ppg.) and 16th in rebounding (5.8 rpg.).  Hoskins’ numbers are even better in Big 12 play, where he is ninth in scoring (16.6 ppg) and 14th in rebounding (6.3 rpg). 


The streak of 17 consecutive double-digit scoring efforts began with a 17-point effort against Cleveland State on Dec. 5 and continued with 14 points against North Dakota State on Dec. 9.  Hoskins continued his impressive play in the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Holiday Classic, where he was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 15.8 points on 70 percent shooting to go with a team-best 5.8 rebounds.  He was team’s leading scorer against Xavier with 17 points before adding 11 points at Texas A&M.  Hoskins came through in a big way offensively against Texas Tech on Jan. 8, posting 23 points on 7-of-13 field goals.  He stepped his game even more in wins over Iowa State and Chicago State with back-to-back double-doubles, posting 22 points on 9-of-17 field goals against the Cyclones with a career-high 11 rebounds in 36 minutes before totaling 15 points and 10 rebounds against the Cougars on Jan. 22.  He tallied his fourth 20-point game against Missouri on Jan. 31 with a team-leading 25 points.  In addition, Hoskins has been impressive from the free throw line during the 17-game streak, connecting on 80.5 percent (99-of-123), including 81.8 percent (27-of-33) in the last five minutes.

Dialing From Long Distance

After entering the game with a Big 12-worse 5.64 three-point field goals per game, Kansas State proved itself capable from long distance on Feb. 3 against nationally-ranked Texas with a season-best 14 treys.  The total not only surpassed the previous high of 11 against ColoradoState on Dec. 2, 2006 but also represented the most since collecting 15 against Nebraska on Jan. 8, 2000.  The Wildcats also converted on a team-high 51.9 percent (14-of-27) from 3-point range against the Longhorns, its highest percentage since shooting 75 percent (9-of-12) against Oregon State on Dec. 22, 2002.  The team got treys from three players -- Cartier Martin (7), Lance Harris (5) and Clent Stewart (2) -- and it marked the first time since Nebraska in 2000 that two players had five or more 3-pointers in the same game when Galen Morrison and Cortez Groves posted seven and five, respectively.  Of note, Harris and Martin are the two of the best players in K-State history shooting the 3-pointer, as the two rank among the top 5 in makes and attempts in their careers.  Martin is fourth in makes (139) and attempts (356) and sixth in percentage (39.6), while Harris is third in attempts (386) and fifth in makes (135).

Getting Defensive

Kansas State has demonstrated trademark Bob Huggins’ defensive basketball in posting a 17-7 record to start the season.  The Wildcats rank among the top 5 in four defensive categories in the Big 12, including second in 3-point percentage defense (28.7), fourth in field goal percentage defense (40.7), fifth in rebounding (37.3) and fifth in rebounding defense (33.8).  The squad has been just as impressive in league play, where they rank first in 3-point percentage defense (28.6), fifth in rebounding margin (1.6) and seventh in scoring defense (68.8).  The team has held 20 of its 24 opponents to below 80 points, including 10 of its last 15 under 70 points.  Only eight foes have shot above 45 percent from the field.

Despite giving up a season-high 97 points against Kansas on Wednesday, the Wildcats have still been impressive on defense in the last 17 games.  The team has held its opponents to just 64.4 points on 40.9 percent shooting (383-of-937), including just 25.2 percent (72-of-286) from 3-point range, during the stretch.  In addition, K-State has forced an average of 15.7 turnovers and tallied an average of 5.8 steals during the stretch. 

During the course of the season, the defensive effort has produced marks that the Wildcats haven’t seen in years and even decades.  Kansas State held ChicagoState and Nebraska to a combined 81 points; the lowest two-game point total since allowing UMKC (39) and Coppin State (36) a combined 75 points on Dec. 19 and 21, 1998.  Against Chicago State, the Wildcats held the Cougars to just 36 points on 22.2 percent shooting, marks which tied or set new marks for lows by an opponent in Bramlage Coliseum.  It marked the fewest points allowed an opponent since CoppinState also scored 36 on Dec. 21, 1999.  In the win over Rutgers on Nov. 15, K-State held the Scarlet Knights to 41 points on just nine field goals and 19.1 percent shooting.  The nine field goals are the fewest allowed since the Wildcats held Washburn a school-record seven in a 23-15 win on Dec. 6, 1940, while the 41 points are the fewest points allowed on an opponent’s court since the shot clock and fewest since allowing Nebraska 39 on March 6, 1984.


Home Sweet Home

Kansas State has continued to make Bramlage Coliseum one of the toughest home venues in the Big 12, as the Wildcats have posted a 10-1 mark at home this season, including a perfect 7-0 mark in non-conference games.  The team has tallied an impressive 71-24 (.747) mark at home since the start of 2001-02 season, including 10 or more wins each of the past six years.  With four home games remaining this season, the Wildcats have already clinched a winning record at home for the 61st consecutive season, which has spanned three arenas and nine head coaches dating back to the 1946-47 season.  The team has registered an 839-322 (.723) record in home games all-time, including a 211-81 (.723) mark in Bramlage Coliseum since its opening in 1988.

Clutch Shooting

Kansas State has taken advantage of its opportunities at the free throw line in the past eight games, as the Wildcats have combined to sink 77.1 percent (162-of-210) from the charity stripe.  The team posted season-highs in free throws (37), free throws attempted (43) and free throw percentage (86.0) in the win over Missouri on Jan. 13.  The 37 free throws and 43 attempts are the most in a game since the Wildcats collected 39 makes on 51 attempts against Baylor on Feb. 13, 1999.  The total (37) was also just five shy of school-record of 42 set against Purdue on Dec. 1, 1958.  In addition, the Wildcats have been particularly effective in the last five minutes from the stripe, knocking down 79.8 percent (67-of-84), including a combined 88 percent (22-of-25) in the two games with Missouri.  For the season, the team has connected on 71.6 percent (111-of-155) of its free throws in the last five minutes.   

Offense Taking Flight

After managing just 61 points on 32.6 percent shooting against Nebraska on Jan. 27, the much-maligned Kansas State offense showed its tremendous potential in the win over Missouri on Jan. 31 by posting 80 or more points in a game for the seventh time this season.  It marked the first time the squad had topped the barrier since collecting 85 in its first meeting with the Tigers just 18 days earlier on Jan. 13.  In 24 games this season, the seven 80-point games by Wildcats surpass each of the yearly totals of the past seven seasons and is the most in a season since the 1998-99 season also had seven.  The last time K-State posted more than seven 80-point contests in a single-season was the 1997-98 season when the team collected nine such games.       

Despite scoring less than 70 points in eight of its last 11 games, the team has still averaged averaged 74.2 points on 45.3 percent shooting in the last 18 contests after averaging just 66.0 points on 36.3 percent shooting in the first six games.  In doing so, the squad has shot 50 percent or better from the field in 16 of their last 36 halves of basketball, including 60 percent or better on four occasions.  During the first part of the streak, the Wildcats scored 80 or more points in four consecutive games for the first time since the 1990-91 season.  Against Cleveland State, Kansas State shot a season-high 61.5 percent from the field (its highest percentage in nearly two seasons) and topped the 90-point barrier for just the second time this season.

Block Party

Kansas State broke nearly every single-game block record on Jan. 22, as the Wildcats posted a Bramlage Coliseum-record 12 blocked shots, including an individual mark of eight by freshman Jason Bennett, in a 73-37 victory.  The 12 blocks surpassed the previous highs of 10 against UMKC on Dec. 19, 1998 and the 10 Colorado registered against K-State on Feb. 11, 2003 for the most in the building’s 19-year history.  Bennett’s eight swats not only broke the school mark of six that he already shared (at California on Nov. 29, 2006) with Tony Kitt (vs. Kansas on March 3, 1999) and Dramane Diarra (vs. Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 26, 2005), but it also surpassed the arena marks of six by Diarra and seven by Nebraska’s Kimani Ffriend (Jan. 30, 2001). 

The team’s 102 blocks this season are the eighth-highest total in school history since the stat began being kept in 1982-83, while this year’s total is the highest in a single-season since the 2002-03 team produced 109 swats.  The Wildcats are on pace for 131 blocks during the regular season, which would be the second-most in a single-season in K-State history behind the 146 recorded in 1998-99.  On the other hand, Bennett’s 48 blocked shots have already established a freshman school record, shattering the previous mark of 24 by Shawn Rhodes in 1995-96.  He is tied for third on school’s single-season top-10, while he is one swat away from the career top-10.  Bennett is on pace for 63 blocks, which would break Gerald Eaker’s single-season record of 59 set during the 1995-96 season.  He has recorded at least one block in 15 of 21 games, while his 2.29 per game average ranks first in the Big 12.

Road Warriors

After struggling for most of the past decade on the road, Kansas State has taken a step forward this season with Big 12-leading seven victories away from Bramlage Coliseum for the first time since the 1995-96 season.  The team also has five true’ road wins - at Rutgers, North Dakota State, Missouri, Iowa State and Texas - already this season for the first time since the 1995-96 season when the Wildcats also captured five wins.  K-State has also won three consecutive conference road games for the first time since January 1988.  This is contrast to the previous seven seasons, in which, the team posted no more than four wins away from Manhattan in a season and compiled a 15-72 overall record, including a 10-63 mark in a true’ road venue.

Taking Advantage of Turnovers

One of the biggest factors in Kansas State’s improved play of late has been its ability to force its opponent into turnovers and then to capitalize with points off those miscues.  The Wildcats’ stifling defense has forced an average of 15.7 turnovers (267), including an average of 5.8 steals, in the last 17 games, while averaging 18.1 points off those turnovers.  The team scored 65 points off a combined 51 turnovers in back-to-back wins over Kennesaw State and Maryland-Eastern Shore on Dec. 17 and 19.  The 32 turnovers by UMES (which yielded 37 points) were just five short of the school record of 37 set by Vanderbilt in December 1969.  K-State continued with its pressure defense in the win over USC on Dec. 22, as the Wildcats forced a season-high 28 Trojan turnovers and converted those into 24 points.  The team scored 19 points off 15 New Mexico turnovers en route to capturing its first in-season tournament title since 1995.  K-State continued the trend in January by scoring 22 points off 16 Texas A&M miscues, 19 points off 15 Texas Tech turnovers and 23 points off 16 Missouri miscues.  The current average of 15.1 turnovers forced per game is the highest since the 1994-95 season averaged 16.7 turnovers.

Trio of Prolific Scorers

Kansas State has three players on its squad - seniors Cartier Martin and Lance Harris and junior David Hoskins - who rank among the school’s top 55 scorers.  Martin, who entered the school’s all-time top-10 with 15 points against Missouri on Jan. 13, became just the ninth player in school history to top 1,300 career points with his 27-point effort against No. 23 Texas on Feb. 3.  He now has 1,315 points after his 11-point effort against the Jayhawks.  Harris now ranks 27th all-time with 910 points in his four-year career and needs just 26 points to crack the school’s top 25.  He needs 90 points to become the 20th player in school history and the second this season with 1,000 career points.  Two players have never eclipsed the 1,000-point barrier in the same season, while the program has not had two 1,000-point scorers on the same team since Mike Evans and Curtis Redding starred for the Wildcats in the 1977-78 season.  Martin (139) and Harris (135) also rank fourth and fifth, respectively, in school history in career 3-point field goals.  Hoskins already ranks 53rd on the all-time scoring list with 717 points and can move into the top 50 with just seven points.  It marks the first time since 1987-88 season (Mitch Richmond, Will Scott and Charles Bledsoe) that the Wildcats have had a 1,000-point scorer and a pair of 500-point scorers on the same team. 

Huggins Effect

Although he has been Kansas State’s head coach for less than a season, the impact head coach Bob Huggins has had on the Wildcat program has been nothing short of monumental.  Huggins has not only gained the school widespread attention by media outlets, he has helped guide it to milestones not seen by the historically-rich program in some time.  For his efforts, the Huggins’ hiring was dubbed the 2006 sports story of the year in the state of Kansas by The Associated Press in late December.  Below are a few of the milestones achieved by Huggins in barely his first season at the helm.           

*For the first time in the 19-year history of Bramlage Coliseum all available season ticket packages have been sold... Season tickets went from 6,500 in 2005-06 to 13,000 in 2006-07... The last time K-State could boast a sellout of season tickets was during the 1982-83 season when the Wildcats played in Ahearn Field House, while the previous high for season tickets in Bramlage Coliseum was 11,700 during the inaugural 1988-89 season.

*In addition to the season ticket sales, the school offered courtside seats for the first time in its history and sold out of the available 25 seats at $4,400 apiece with a waiting list... There are also plans in the works for loge boxes in the arena as well as other improvements, including a practice facility.

*Kansas State has or will play seven nationally-televised games this season, including two as apart of ESPN’s “Big Monday” package and two on ABC Sports (both are firsts for the program)... It is the most nationally-televised games in a single-season for the Wildcats in school history.

*Kansas State earned its first in-season tournament title in more than 10 years by winning the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Dec. 23... The win in the championship game gave the program 10 victories before Jan. 1 for the first time since the 1998-99 season (its last postseason appearance).

*Kansas State attracted the consensus No. 1 recruiting class in the country in November according to Scout.com, Rivals.com and Sports Illustrated... The class referred to as the greatest-ever for the school includes consensus top 10 prospects Michael Beasley and Bill Walker.    

Martin Joins 1,000-Point Club; Cracks School’s Top 10

Senior forward Cartier Martin joined an elite fraternity at Kansas State in the win over Coppin State on Nov. 25, 2006, as he became the 19th player in school history and the first in the Big 12 era to score 1,000 career points.  The Houston, Texas, native hit the milestone at the 6:48 mark of the second half against the Eagles with a 3-pointer from the left corner to beat the shot clock.  He is the first Wildcat to eclipse the 1,000-point barrier since Askia Jones did it during the 1992-93 season.  Martin cracked the school’s top-10 list for scoring against Missouri on Jan. 13 and is currently in eighth place with 1,315 career points.  He is within 12 points of Mitch Richmond (1,327; 1986-88) for seventh and 49 away from Chuckie Williams (1,364; 1973-76) for sixth.  Martin is also eight rebounds from becoming just the fourth player in school history to top 1,300 points and 500 rebounds in a career, joining Ed Nealy (1,304 points, 1,069 rebounds), Bob Boozer (1,685 points, 824 rebounds) and Rolando Blackman (1,844 points, 607 rebounds).  He has scored in double figures 18 times in the last 22 games, including eight 20-point outings.  Martin began the streak by posting a career-high 28 points against Tennessee Tech, while he has also turned in 20-point efforts against ColoradoState (21), Cleveland State (21), UMES (23) and New Mexico (23), which earned him MVP honors at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic on Dec. 23.  He has registered 20-point games in three of the last five games, including 25 against ChicagoState on Jan. 22, 22 versus Missouri on Jan. 31 and 27 on the road against No. 23 Texas on Feb. 3.

Harris Stepping Up Game

Bob Huggins has always been a coach that has gotten the most out of his talent and senior guard Lance Harris has been a prime example of that influence.  Harris has averaged 10.5 points on 46 percent shooting, including a team-best 38.5 percent from 3-point range, this season to go with a 3.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.5 steals per game.  He paces the squad in both 3-point field goals (40) and 3-point field goal percentage (38.5), while he is in the top-4 in scoring, field goal percentage and rebounding.  Harris has scored in double figures in 11 contests, including three 20-point efforts.  He opened the year with 22 points against William & Mary on Nov. 11 before posting a career-high 26 points against CoppinState on Nov. 25.  His 24 points against North Dakota State helped the Wildcats to a come-from-behind win on Dec. 9.  He has connected three or more 3-point field goals in eight games.  A constant in the line-up, Harris is moving up several K-State career charts, including ranking third in 3-point field goal attempts (386), fifth in 3-point field goals (130), eighth in minutes (2,339) and 27th in scoring (910), while he is just outside the top 10 in career games played (108).

The Wright Stuff

One of the biggest reasons for the Wildcats’ success this season has been the play of senior guard Akeem Wright.  The Philadephia, Pa., native has averaged 7.0 points on 40.5 percent shooting to go with a team-high 5.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 0.7 steals in 25.3 minutes per game.  He ranks among the top-15 in two Big 12 categories, including 13th in defensive rebounds and 14th in rebounding.  Known more for his defensive prowess, Wright spent the summer working on his jumpshot to complete his all-around game.  Wright has scored in double figures in six games this season, including a career-high 18 points against Texas A&M on Jan. 6.  He has also kept up his defensive effort, pacing the team in rebounds in eight games this season.  Wright has grabbed six or more rebounds in nine of the last 13 games.  For the season, he has totaled six or more boards in 13 contests.  During the last 17 games, Wright has topped his season average eight times with four double-digit efforts.  He played perhaps in his best game of his career against Texas A&M on Jan. 6, as he posted a career-high 18 points on 8-of-15 field goals to go with a team-high eight rebounds, three assists and a career-best three steals.

Stewart Manning the Point

Junior guard Clent Stewart has been a steadying force for the Wildcats this season since emerging as the team’s primary point guard against North Dakota State on Dec. 9.  During that span, Stewart has averaged 6.9 points on 39.6 percent shooting with 3.0 assists, 2.3 rebounds and 0.6 steals in 27.2 minutes per game in guiding the team to 12 wins in 16 games.  He has been even more impressive in Big 12 play, averaging 8.9 points on 41.3 percent shooting (26-of-63), including 41.4 percent from 3-point range (12-of-29), with 2.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 29.9 minutes per game.  Stewart has scored in double figures in three of the last eight games, including tying his career-high with 19 points on 5-of-9 shooting against Missouri on Jan. 13.

Young Recovers Nicely from Surgery

Junior guard Blake Young underwent successful knee surgery on Dec. 11 at Mercy Regional Health Center in Manhattan, Kan.  He suffered a partial tear of the medial meniscus in his right knee during the Wildcats’ scrimmage in late October.  With no risk of further damage, Young had been playing with the injury throughout the first nine games.  After combining for 13 minutes against Kennesaw State and Maryland-EasternShore, he has recovered nicely from the surgery in averaging over 15 minutes in each of the last 14 games, including 31 against Kansas on Feb. 7.  A NJCAA honorable mention All-American as a sophomore in 2005-06, he is averaging 5.9 points, a team-best 2.4 assists, 2.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 20.9 minutes per game this year.  After ranking third in NJCAA in scoring at 23.2 points as a sophomore, he displayed his offensive potential with a big effort against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 21 with a season-high 24 points on 6-of-10 field goals, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range.  He has scored in double figures in five contests.   

Up Next: At Nebraska (14-8, 3-5 Big 12)

Kansas State hits the road for the third time in four games on Tuesday, as the Wildcats look to sweep the series from Nebraska (14-8, 3-5 Big 12) for the first time since 2004 with a trip to Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln, Neb.  The Wildcats used a stellar defensive effort to post a 61-46 win over the Huskers on Jan. 27 in ManhattanNebraska, which is coming off a dramatic 61-59 win over Texas Tech on Tuesday night, is riding a two-game winning streak into Saturday’s home game with league-leading Texas A&M.  The team is averaging 68.5 points on 48.3 percent shooting with 28.7 rebounds and has a balanced scoring team with six players averaging seven or more points, including two in double figures.